Horyuji Temple, early spring, 1994, woodblock colour print, 52/150, gift of the artist
The Four Seasons
Woodblock Prints of Fumio Kitaoka
August 9 - October 31, 1997
Curator: Dr. Ilana Singer
Fumio Kitaoka was born in Tokyo in 1918, and is a graduate of the Department of oil painting at the Tokyo University of Art. Kitaoka then went on to specialize in the techniques of woodblock printing at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris. He was invited to exhibit his work in the United States, Russia and China and to teach woodblock printing in this countries. In 1990 he was elected President of the Japanese Artists' Union, and in 1992 received a silver trophy from the Japanese Foreign Office. Kitaoka is famous in many countries throughout the world, and his work is included in many museum collections. The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art is proud to hold three of his works.
In Kitaoka's works the influences of both East and West are apparent. After completing his studies at Tokyo University of Art, a strong realistic tendency was evident in his style, whereas the composition of his later works is more modern and abstract. He has abandoned the wood engraving which had occupied him during the years he spent abroad, and has returned to the traditional japanese woodblock techniques. "I love the woodblock print because when it is made in the traditional way and printed by hand on Japanese hand-made paper (washi), it becomes a very Japanese art". He finds that colours look more beautiful in the woodblock prints than when they are painted on with a braush, because the forms are better defined. In his prints Kitaoka emphasizes the separate areas of colour. This, rather than outline, helps him to achieve the balance between the components of a composition. The artist uses grey extensively, with patches of colour which stand out against this muted background. The prints in the exhibition display the beauties of the four seasons in Japan.
This exhibition is presented at the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art under the auspices of the Embassy of Japan in Israel, after appearing in Amman, at the Jordanian National Gallery of Fine Arts.